DODGERS NOTEBOOK: GREEN BATTLES SLUMP.
MONTREAL - Coming off an 0-for-5 Friday that included three strikeouts and following a 2-for-11 series in New York, Shawn Green was out of the lineup Saturday for the first time this season as manager Jim Tracy looks to shake his All-Star right fielder out of his early-season slump.
How bad is it?
Well, not terribly dreadful compared to last season, when Green finished with 42 homers and 117 RBI.
Green, who appeared as a pinch hitter in the ninth and walked, is batting .281 with four homers and 17 RBI. Through May 10 last season, Green was batting .252 with three homers and 21 RBI. At that time, he was answering questions daily as to whether he missed Gary Sheffield's presence in the lineup.
``The way I feel right now, and the way I felt lately, it's kind of the low point,'' said Green, who will return to the lineup today. ``What's different this year is I'll go out there some days and scrounge out a couple of hits, but sometimes average is misleading. I'm not driving balls, just little loopers.''
However, Green acknowledged just how much he was searching for his swing after changing his pregame routine Thursday at Shea Stadium. Green, a tireless worker, usually tries to work his way out of slumps with early hitting in the batting cages in the bowels of a stadium. Instead, he went out onto the field for early hitting.
``He's searching for something that's not there at this particular time,'' Tracy said. ``That's when you step in and give them an opportunity to get away from it and sort some things out. There was give-and-take with Shawn and I, and that's the way it should be. In his case, it may just be a slight mechanical adjustment.''
That was the case in 2002 when Green broke out in a huge way in Milwaukee. He homered twice May 21 and two days later tied a major-league record with four homers.
``He's the type of guy, like several great hitters are, that it takes them one at-bat for it to happen and then all of a sudden you see a guy go on a tear,'' Tracy said. ``In any particular at-bat you see him get his pitch, but more times than not you see it (fouled) back into the net, which means he's just missing.''
--Hail, Cesar: After an abysmal first month of the season batting from the left side, which followed an awful 2002 in which Cesar Izturis batted .195 left-handed, the switch-hitting Dodgers shortstop might have found the proper stroke.
Izturis batted .195 left-handed the first four weeks of the season, but after going 1 for 2 Saturday as a left-hander he is 13 for 37 (.351) left-handed since April 27 to raise his left-handed average to .246. Furthermore, Izturis has six RBI in the past three games, matching his RBI production for the first 34 games.
``It's going to keep better,'' Tracy said. ``Now, he's more conscious of the ball in the air versus the ball on the ground and the hard line drive. He's starting to become a very good left-handed hitter.''
--Odds and ends: Adrian Beltre went 3 for 4, his first two-hit game since May 2. After going hitless in 20 at-bats, Beltre has four hits in his past seven at-bats. ... With Green out, Brian Jordan started in right field for the first time this season. ... The Dodgers are participating in a Mother's Day breast cancer awareness initiative today. Pink chairs, which will be autographed, will be in the home and away bullpen. Those chairs will be auctioned off later this month on MLB.com and benefit the Big Bam! Foundation, which works to educate women about breast health and breast cancer.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Article Type:||Statistical Data Included|
|Date:||May 11, 2003|
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